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19/01/14 10:00

Strengthening links with Malawi and Zambia

Queens Baton Relay highlights shared history and future

External Affairs and International Development Minister Humza Yousaf will visit Malawi and Zambia this week, strengthening links between Scotland and the two countries.

The Minister will meet the Commonwealth Games Queen’s Baton as it arrives in both countries as part of its 288-day journey around all 70 nations and territories of the Commonwealth.

While in both countries, he will undertake several meetings with business leaders and Ministers, and will visit projects funded by the Scottish Government through its International Development Fund and its ground-breaking Climate Justice Fund.

Mr Yousaf is the first Scottish Government Minister to visit Zambia, and this is his first visit to Malawi. He will meet representatives of both Governments during his trip.

As well as working to deepen Commonwealth and cultural relationships, Mr Yousaf’s visit will concentrate on working together to establish civic society, education, renewable energy and climate change links. He will visit development projects, including the Kulima programme run by SCIAF in Lusaka, Zambia, which helps rural farmers increase food security and household incomes.

Ahead of his visit, Mr Yousaf said:

“The Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, represented through the arrival of the Queen’s Baton in its journey, presents an unrivalled chance for Scotland to make new connections and deepen existing relationships with Malawi and Zambia and other countries around the Commonwealth.

“Scotland and Malawi already have a long history of collaboration, particularly in health and education, and more recently in the field of renewable energy and climate change, and we are determined to build on this and move the relationship to the next level. There are now opportunities for an exchange of skills, investment and trade between Scotland and Malawi.

“We very much value our growing relationship with Zambia, and I am excited to be the first Scottish Government Minister to visit the country. We want to build on our links with Zambia and to work together, especially in the area of climate change.

“Scotland has a longstanding global reputation for fighting poverty which I am very proud of and I am looking forward to seeing how our work is making an impact and helping some the poorest and most vulnerable people in the world.”

SCIAF’s Head of International Programmes Lorraine Currie said:

“Thanks to the support of people in Scotland and the Scottish Government, SCIAF is providing practical support to poor farming communities including livestock, seeds and training, so that they can grow more food and work their way out of poverty. However, extreme poverty remains a huge and life-threatening problem for millions of people in Malawi and Zambia. Many families go hungry and are surviving on the equivalent of just £1 a day.

“The visit of Humza Yousaf is a great opportunity for him to see the real difference Scottish Government money is making to the lives of some of the most vulnerable people on the planet.”

David Hope-Jones, Principal Officer of the Scotland-Malawi Partnership, said:

“We are greatly excited about the Minister’s forthcoming visit to Malawi, where he will be able to see first-hand the warmth and enthusiasm that exists across Malawi for the historic links with Scotland. At its heart, this is a community to community, family to family and people to people relationship, defined and underpinned by genuine, dignified partnership. It is a relationship built on friendship, understanding and mutual respect: a unique national effort. We feel it is essential that all involved in this relationship have the opportunity to visit both sides, and meet the real people behind each of the thousands of links which unite our two nations.

“In the 154 years since Dr Livingstone first arrived in what became Malawi, few visiting Scots have failed to fall in love with, and be inspired by, the country. It really is the Warm Heart of Africa. With the Minister’s visit coinciding with Burns Night and the Glasgow Commonwealth Games Queen’s Baton Relay, we’ve no doubt that he will enjoy an extra special welcome from the 148,000 Malawians actively partnered with Scotland each year.”

Mr Yousaf will arrive in Malawi on 21 January, and travel to Zambia on 26 January.